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Jo Shapcott – Her Book 2 – Life

One of the things I love about Shapcott’s poetry is its passionate and joyful embrace of the world.

A poem reflecting on this in general terms is “Life”, which you can find here  http://ijcooper.hostoi.com/NewPoems/Shapcott_Life.htm

The speaker of the poem describes three lives, as bat, frog and iguana or hearing, touch and tongue. I want to comment a bit on the last of these.

When a poet writes about tongue and mouth we tend to think of them as organs of expression, but Shapcott’s poem presents the tongue as a means of discovery, a way of receiving the world:

My life as … Continue Reading

Jo Shapcott, Her Book – 1

Wow! I’ve just reread Jo Shapcott’s Her Book: Poems 1988 – 1998. What a generous, exciting collection it is.

I say “collection” but of course it’s really a selection from three earlier books. Although it seems to me that it’s in Phrase Book that she really takes off, Shapcott’s huge gifts and utter distinctiveness are already clear in Electroplating the Baby. Take this from “Lies” (which you can read as a whole at http://queen-ypolita.insanejournal.com/tag/poet:+jo+shapcott  if you don’t have Her Book or Electroplating the Baby):

In reality, sheep are brave, enlightened
and sassy. They are walking clouds
and like clouds have forgotten
how … Continue Reading